Prisoner of Time



An interesting picture of 19th-century society.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most male characters constantly belittle women.

Not applicable
Not applicable

One use of an off-color word for annoyed.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, as with the first book in the series, this one gives an interesting picture of social conditions in the 19th century and contrasts modern and Victorian speech.The part-thriller, part-comic story scores with romance fans, especially those who enjoyed the first two books. Cooney keeps the story moving.

Kids say

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What's the story?

This time Annie's brother Tod becomes the time traveler, and welcome comic relief, in this continuation of the Stratton family fantasy. Tod finds himself falling back in time to meet the lovely Devonny, Strat's sister. Her father is forcing her to marry the shallow Lord Hugh-David Winden. She begs Tod to save her. Tod decides he should try, fades into Devonny's wedding, and snatches her away to the present as she's walking down the aisle.

Meanwhile, Devonny's friend Flossie has fallen in love with an Italian stonecutter and elopes. But her parents know of her plans and have the boy kidnapped and imprisoned on a ship going back to Italy. At first embarrassed, then feeling guilty, Lord Winden helps find Flossie and her fiancé. But Mr. Stratton imprisons Devonny's mother in his attic, intending her to live there for decades. Can Tod and Devonny save her?

Is it any good?


Another time traveling teenager, and more romance, gothic imprisonments, kidnappings, and greed continue the Stratton family story. But this time Caroline Cooney has some fun with it. She provides comic relief by using Annie's younger brother as the link between the present and the past. The story still relies on gothic elements. Devonny's father compels her to marry a greedy English lord for his title. When he shuts up her mother in the attic, we can almost see him chuckling and grinning and twirling the end of his mustache as the standard Victorian villain.

However, a few of the characters grow a bit. Lord Winden realizes he's behaved less than honorably, and prods himself into standing up to his gorgon-like mother. Devonny changes her attitude toward Lord Winden. The book certainly will continue to appeal to those who enjoyed the two earlier books in the series, Both Sides of Time and Out of Time. Its history will interest many romantically inclined readers. No one could call it literature, but many kids will read it, love it, and learn from it. That's not too bad.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about imagined time travel. If you could visit any era in history, which would you choose? Why?

Book details

Author:Caroline B. Cooney
Genre:Historical Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1998
Number of pages:200

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byofee1211 December 23, 2011

Best of the Series

What other families should know
Educational value
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